I’ve been in dance therapy for all of 90 seconds when I embarrass myself. Everyone is participating in a group exercise called “follow-the-leader” where one person picks a dance step that the rest of the group must imitate. When my name was called, I panicked and launched into a very uncool dance move, which could be described as disco inspired. My cheeks were flaming when strangers mimicked it back to me.
I’d traveled to the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine to take this humiliating stab at vulnerability in the name of science (and my own sanity). CORAL, an ongoing research project in the school, is designed to help burnt-out workers build resilience and improve mental health. Participants meet every week for 90 minutes for three months to relieve stress from working in the health care industry.
But this week, the group includes one participant who doesn’t work in health care: me, a health journalist with a personal interest in whether CORAL’s program really works.
After three years of writing about the pandemic, I began to see in myself some warning signs.